Is moving your desktop infrastructure the right approach for every business? Of course not, but an increasing number of firms are now realising the benefits that Virtualisation Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) can offer.

Leveraging the cloud in order to host your desktop infrastructure externally means freeing your business and employees from the shackles of the traditional workstation approach. With VDI, storage, applications, and everything else that underpins the desktop experience is managed by a third party vendor.

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There’s always a danger that the growth in VDI uptake is just another example of businesses jumping on the cloud bandwagon without having given it due thought, but in a lot of cases the technology is a perfect fit.

Businesses and their employees are increasingly demanding the flexibility to work wherever and whenever they need to, and VDI makes this possible. Whether you need to work from home, access files on the move or respond to an unexpected development while on holiday, hosted desktop solutions give you the tools you need to work remotely across mobile and desktop platforms.

Organisations are choosing the VDI approach more than ever before because the technology has improved markedly over the last couple of years. Cloud hosting your desktop infrastructure has seen criticism, and it is true that badly implemented VDI is going to cause a number of headaches, but the technology is easy to appreciate if it has been implemented correctly.

When it is used properly, businesses can access their full range of tools via the cloud without disruption. Popular software like Microsoft Office, as well as more bespoke tools can all be delivered virtually over a cloud network. What’s more, by deploying the same operating system to multiple users, the upgrade process is much simpler. Updates, patches and new applications can be deployed centrally and will automatically be made available to all users of the virtual desktop infrastructure next time they log in.

Virtualisation is also more viable for SMBs from a financial point-of-view.

VDI also offers disaster prevention and recovery benefits. Reliable cloud hosting companies can manage server failure without service being affected. Many providers will have safeguards in place that compensate for server failures, enabling them to remain at full capacity even while resolving technical issues. Furthermore, businesses that outsource their desktop infrastructure generally utilise thin clients in place of traditional PCs. As well as offering a lower carbon footprint, thin clients have no moving parts, which reduces the likelihood of hardware failure.

Virtualisation is also becoming more viable for SMBs from a financial point-of-view. The option of using older hardware, the lack of server maintenance costs and the subscription payment model all add up to make hosted desktops a cost effective solution for the modern business.

With the number of benefits on offer, hosting your desktop on remote data centres is becoming increasingly common. Major players in the technology scene are beginning to get on board, with the likes of Microsoft, Amazon and IBM all offering desktop hosting solutions in some form. Whether or not these larger companies can deliver the same level of dedicated service as bespoke cloud hosting companies remains to be seen, but it certainly raises awareness of VDI.

Increased awareness will surely be accompanied by increased scrutiny, particularly over integration and security issues. IT infrastructure is extremely complex and configuring VDI solutions for optimal performance is not a simple task. Businesses will also have to ask themselves if Desktop as a Service (DaaS) is right for them, or if they want their entire infrastructure outsourced. Alongside these questions, companies will need to feel secure hosting company data outside of on-premise servers.

There are a number of worthwhile reasons to shift to VDI but as with any cloud offering, users must remember that they are buying a continuing service, not a one-off product. To get the most out of your hosted desktop make sure there is ongoing collaboration and consultation with your provider to guarantee a solution that is able to meet your company’s needs both now and in the future.